How Often to Bring Pets in for Wellness Exams
As loving and committed pet owners, our pet’s health is entirely our responsibility. There are lots of different things that we can do to ensure that our animals are as healthy as possible and can enjoy active, fulfilling, and happy lives. Some of these, such as diet and exercise are fairly obvious. However, many owners don’t fully realize the importance of taking their pets for regular wellness exams. Here’s what you need to know about these appointments including how often you should bring your pet in for a wellness exam with your vet.
What is a Pet Wellness Exam?
A pet wellness examination is an appointment that is designed to assess the overall health and wellbeing of your pet and should be attended even if you feel that you don’t have any concerns about these at the present time. This is because its purpose is not to treat any existing symptoms but to ensure that there are no illnesses or conditions that are in their early stages or that your pet seems to be particularly at risk of developing. Unsurprisingly, the earlier any potential problems are detected and treated, the better the outcome is likely to be for your precious pet.
What’s Usually Involved in a Pet Wellness Exam?
Exactly what is included in a pet wellness exam does tend to vary a little depending on your veterinarian and the specific needs of your pet. However, some common elements include the following:
Consultation with you. You will be asked about your pet’s lifestyle, including their diet, exercise, thirst, bathroom patterns, behavior, and habits. This helps your vet to form an overall picture of your pet’s life and they may be able to make recommendations to improve your pet’s health simply by making some small alterations to some areas of their lives, for example, by providing your pet with nutritional supplements.
Physical examination. A physical examination of your pet will involve a comprehensive look at various aspects of their body in order to detect any abnormalities and check their overall health. Many owners are surprised to learn that observing the general appearance of your pet can give vets valuable information about their wellbeing. Some of the things that your vet will be looking at could include:
How your pet stands and walks
Their muscle condition, to ensure that there isn’t any wastage
Your pet’s overall body condition including weight to size ratio
Their coat, since dryness, excessive oiliness, dandruff, bald spots, etc can all be indicative of health problems
Their skin as again, any unusual changes can be a sign of an underlying health concern
Whether they have any abnormal lumps, bumps or growths
Their ears and eyes to check for any signs of infection
Determining if your pet is bright and alert
A stool or urine sample to check for the presence of parasites or other potential health problems
Palpating their abdomen to check the size and position of the major organs
Checking the lymph nodes for any swelling or pain
Their heart rate and breathing
The information that your vet obtains from these tests can tell them whether any further investigative work needs to be carried out into any areas of your pet’s health, if they have a definitive health problem or if any treatment is needed. This will help them and you to make an informed decision about your pet’s care.
How Often Should I Bring my Pet In For a Wellness Exam?
Precisely how often your pet should attend a wellness exam can vary based on their age and health requirements. For example, younger animals such as puppies and kittens will need to attend appointments regularly anyway so that they can receive all of their vaccinations and they may be given some degree of a wellness exam at the same time.
Most adult pets are recommended to have a wellness exam, including a heartworm test, on an annual basis. At this appointment, they may also require booster vaccinations, and your vet will advise you if this is the case and if so, which vaccinations are needed.
As pets get older, their bodies begin to deteriorate more quickly, and this means that they may need to be seen more often, particularly since they are also more likely to develop certain diseases as they get older. These diseases include:
High blood pressure
Cognitive disorders like dementia
The sooner these diseases are detected, the earlier treatment will be able to begin, and this can help your pet to live a full and active life for longer, as well as potentially longer life.
For more information on pet wellness exams or to schedule one for your pet, please speak to our veterinary team in Richfield, OH.